Imam Bayildi

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I first heard about this dish in the comments section of Brett’s blog. I was intrigued by the name of the dish. So I googled and found the dish and the recipes. This Turkish dish translates as ‘The Imam fainted’. That is a pretty strong name for a dish. Either it had to be really good or really bad and I decided to try it for myself. This recipe seemed kind of authentic, and is the one I followed. I stuck close to the recipe and made only very minor changes.
To get the baby eggplants I went to our local Indian grocery store. The only other thing that needed to be bought was dill. So we made this one evening for dinner.

Recipe

Ingredients

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Baby Eggplants 4
Salt

Extra virgin olive oil 6tbsp

Onions 2 medium or one large cut into thin slices
Garlic cloves 6

Tomatoes 2 large peeled, seeded and diced

Parsley 1/4 cup chopped
Dill 2 tablespoon chopped

Sugar 1tsp

Lemon juice freshly squeezed 2tbsp

Water 1/4-1/2 cup

Method

Peel the skin off the eggplant at one inch intervals.
( You can omit this step to save time. Once cooked this striped pattern is not visible,thus not adding to the visual appeal. It might help absorb the flavors better into the eggplant).

Cut the stem off and halve the eggplant.Make a deep slit lengthwise in the middle of each slice but be careful not to puncture the skin. Salt the eggplant and lay them onto paper towels for about 30min to drain the bitter juices from the eggplant.After 30min dry with paper towels.
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In a large pan add 3 tablesppon of the olive oil
and fry the eggplants skinside down till it is golden brown. This takes about 4min. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle some salt on top.
Before frying I had scooped out some of the seeds from some slices, thinking it will give more space for the filling but found that this was unnecessary.

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In the same pan, add 2tbsp oil and on medium heat fry the onions and garlic, stirring frequently till it is soft. To this add the tomatoes, parsley and sugar.Give a quick stir. After about 30sec remove from fire. Transfer to a bowl and add dill and the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well.

Take a deep casserole to cook the dish.Arrange the eggplants with slit side up and gently open the slit and fill the slit with the filling. Spread the filling to cover flesh of the eggplant too.

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Sprinkle the lemon juice on top of the stuffed eggplants. If there are any remaining stuffing just spread them over the eggplant randomly. Pour the water into the dish around the eggplants. Cover and cook for about 40-50min. Check in between to see if the water had dried up and if so add more water. Serve room temperature.

We had this with chappathis and by this time we were so hungry that we skipped picturing the final dish. This dish was voted as one of the best eggplant dishes we ever made.

20 responses »

  1. Shammi..I was a person who wasnt very fond of eggplant. The dish that converted me was ‘Baingan burtha’ prepared by a local chef when we stayed at a rural area in Delhi as part of college studies.

  2. Both the name and the recipe are unique, sounds like it was served only for the the KING’s and QUEENS ;) lovely pics Gini

    I hope that the recipe I used was the traditional one.It sounded authentic and thats why I used it. 

  3. hi gini,

    i asked my mom about bokchoy kimchi and she thought the best way to eat it would be the light marinade i posted about on my blog bc it’s very tender. she doens’t use measurements so i’ll have to wait til i make it kimchi with her to put up recipes. sorry this is not more info than already discussed on my post! hopefully i’ll get around to it soon!

    Dont be sorry.. The info you provided was great. Atleast I learnt about baby bokchoy in a marinade. I might have to try some experimenting with kimchi, and thanks for motivating me.

  4. A totaly wrong translation. The verb BAYIL-MAK has 2 meanings in Turkish.1. fainted 2. enjoy something very much..I saw that site you visit few days ago, I’m still smiling. First I tought”she-he doesn’t know english well, then I realized that his Turkish was a problem :)
    Imam means religious man.So we can translate it “sheikh liked it” or “approved by sheikh”..By the way “Trust me, I am Turkish (studied Turkish linguistic )

    Hi there Betul…My Turkish for sure is a problem and that is why I referred other sites to translate the dish for me. All the ones that I visited says that “Imam Bayildi” is translated as the Imam Fainted. If you dont believe me, try googling imam bayildi. Good luck and thanks for the input. 

  5. I hope you are not cross with me about the comment I made here Gini.I keep seeing that translation everywhere.Even today in Claudia Roden’s Arabesque.She is trying to explain the word fainted. Ohh, it is unbearable.It seems like I’m the only one thinking the other way..I feel soo alone :(

    Oh Betul! I am not cross with you..no way!Truse me, I know how u feel..I feel the same way explaining to people curry powder is not made from the curry plant, but it is a blend of spices.

  6. I really enjoy your recipes, comments, and great photos. I discovered the
    site when researching the ivy gourd, and was delighted to see your photo
    and recipe for this vegetable growing in my back yard. Not being of Indian
    descent, I don’t always understand some of the ingredient names used
    in comments following some recipes, but I am learning. I am sick about
    the closing of the one Indian restaurant here in town (S. TX), and realize
    I must make my own Indian food. I do love it, but don’t like driving 150 –
    200 miles to find a restaurant. — Thanks for your wonderful photos and
    the details in your recipes. — Melba

  7. Pingback: Balls and Walnuts - more than you ever wanted to know » Aubergines

  8. 1 – OPENED THE “BLOG”

    2 – DROOLED ALL OVER THE FLOOR

    3 – HAVE TO MOP.

    4 – THERE IS NO IMAM BAYILDI or KARNI YARIK in SHERMAN, TEXAS –
    NOT EVEN AT CAFE ISTANBUL (Turkish owned) in DALLAS.

    5 – MOTHER USED TO PREPARE BOTH AT ABDURAHMAN PASHA KOESHK,
    ORTAKOEY,ISTANBUL – MOTHER IS DEAD.

    Fred Pokorny

  9. Another possibilty is to translate it as “The clergyman swooned.” “To swoon” carries the connotation of being overcome with delight.

    I travel to Turkey whenever I can, Turkish food is unsurpassed.

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